The king’s Justice/ the Augur’s gambit
Donaldson duo differ
released OUT NOW! 128/192 pages | Hardback/ebook Author stephen donaldson Publisher Gollancz
The term “Gordian Knot” comes from Alexander the Great’s approach to disentangling an impossible knot – he cut it in two. The King’s Justice and The Augur’s Gambit have experienced their own Gordian Knot. Packaged in the States as one book, they’ve been separated for the UK release.
We can see why. The King’s Justice is a ridiculously enjoyable magical tale, packed with reveals we don’t want to spoil here. It follows a man in black – called Black – who arrives in a village to investigate a murder. The
Smart, violent and moving, with brilliant twists
mysterious man’s special gifts aid him on his quest, but could be used against him… It’s smart, violent and moving, with brilliant twists skilfully delivered over the course of its 128 pages.
The Augur’s Gambit is a longer, more tangled affair. As fans of the author will attest, Stephen Donaldson is an incredible writer, and reading Gambit directly after Justice highlights his talent. Following entrails-reading soothsayer Mayhew Gordian as he moves to save a doomed kingdom, it’s a completely different experience: slower, with more complicated language, and a less likeable lead – making it tougher to get through. Despite his bleak genius, Gordian’s just not as much fun as Black.
Which brings us to that Knot – these stories don’t flow. We might be reviewing them as a double-bill, but you shouldn’t read them that way. Buy both and read something else in-between, splitting them into separate, rewarding, experiences.
As a young man, Donaldson wrote a fan fiction novella based on Marvel’s Thor (plus one based on Heart Of Darkness).